CAMP SANG-AN, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur – After a 10-hour firefight 8:00 a.m. Thursday, government forces seized Maute-IS remnants camp in Sultan Dumalondong, Lanao del Sur.
Three remnants were also killed according to local sources while troops incurred three wounded.
The 55th “Vigilant” Infantry Battalion figured with more or less 24 Dawlah Islamiyah – Lanao remnants (formerly called Maute-IS) in an intense gunfight as they approached the remnant’s lair.
The group is believed to be led by Abu Dhar, the appointed leader of the DI-Lanao Group.
“We acted on the information as reported by the residents and the local chief executives.” Notes Lt. Col Ian Ignes, Commanding Officer of the 55IB.
“The enemy was completely taken by surprise as evident from the direction of their initial gunfires. We met fierce resistance as soon as we hit their final defensive lines.” He adds.
The group has been hiding in the hinterlands of Lanao del Sur where they are well versed of the terrain.
“Despite the enemy’s advantage over the terrain, our troops were able to gain ground and managed to penetrate their defensive lines through timely and accurate supporting fires.” Notes Col Romeo S Brawner Jr, Commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade leading the assault since Wednesday night.
Immediate fire support was provided through artillery and helicopters, sending the DI-Lanao remnants into their bunkers.
The splintered group then scattered for survival, abandoning their stronghold due to the intense ground and air support.
Exploitation of the site reveals several defensive positions to include running trenches and fortified bunkers. A training camp was also found some hundred meters from the terrorists’ defensive lines.
“We are giving them a chance to live a peaceful and meaningful life. We are calling on the remaining Maute-IS fighters to surrender peacefully to the nearest military installation before the next combat operations falls into your doorsteps. Take this offer now before it’s too late.” said Col Romeo Brawner, 103rd Infantry Brigade Commander.
“The armed encounter is the result of our relentless campaign against Maute ISIS remnants and Abu Dar group,” Said Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo,1st Infantry Division and JTF Zampelan Commander.
“We also ask the local populace for their trust, support and prayers for our troops who are still in the area to neutralize the remaining Maute ISIS remnants who continously threaten the safety and well being of Meranaos,” He added.